PCMR upgrades to ski lifts appealed by critics (updated)
The project’s plan to mitigate parking problems is called insufficient
The Park Record
Four people on Thursday appealed the staff-level approval of Park City Mountain Resort’s plan to upgrade its Eagle and Silverlode Express lifts, saying the project’s parking mitigation plan is insufficient, among other alleged shortcomings.
PCMR’s plan to handle increased traffic includes paid parking, but the appeal says without offsite services to accommodate displaced drivers, there is not enough proof the strategy will work or that vehicles will not intrude onto nearby streets and other businesses’ premises.
In addition, an analysis of the impact of the lift capacity expansion is incomplete because it is not based on peak ski day numbers, the appeal contends. It says PCMR overflowed at least 68 mornings during the 2021-2022 ski season.
The Park City Planning Commission is expected to hear the appeal within 45 days. The people who brought the appeal are Clive Bush, Angela Moschetta, Deborah Rentfrow and Mark Stemler.
Planning Director Gretchen Milliken, at the end of a lengthy meeting on April 25, approved PCMR’s application for an administrative conditional use permit for the upgrades.
Emily McDonald, PCMR communications manager, said the city was extremely thorough throughout the five-month application process and the four-hour approval meeting, which included public comment.
“It is disappointing to hear that a few individuals have appealed the City’s decision to issue an Administrative Conditional Use Permit for these transformational lift and parking improvements at Park City Mountain,” McDonald said. “We are investing in these projects because we are deeply committed to the future of the guest experience at Park City Mountain and the benefits these projects will bring to the community.”
PCMR plans to replace the existing Eagle and Eaglet lifts with a high-speed, six-person detachable lift and upgrade Silverlode Express from a six-person lift to a high-speed, eight-person detachable lift. The new Silverlode Express would be parent company Vail Resorts’ first high-speed eight-person chair in North America.
The resort has a 1998 development agreement with City Hall that includes an approved mountain upgrade plan, sometimes known as an MUP. The agreement allowed for ski lift upgrades within the plan to be reviewed and approved or rejected administratively.
The 19 conditions of approval for the lift project included using net proceeds from paid parking to reinvest in transit, transportation and parking measures to mitigate traffic problems around the resort.
PCMR also must provide adequate residential neighborhood traffic mitigation and designate a residential liaison to meet with the city; manage a parking reservation system at the resort with an on-site attendant and a turn-away and tow policy for people without a reservation; mitigate any impact to open space or trails; and comply with the city’s noise ordinance.
The appeal says the conditions of approval “are not wholly consistent” with Park City’s General Plan, which has steps to reduce vehicle miles, including investing in alternatives to solo driving, promoting carpooling and supporting vehicle sharing programs.
“Investment in alternatives, support for carpooling by way of HOV lanes and incentivized programs to encourage vehicle and ride sharing are not demonstrated in Application or MUP. The Conditions of Approval are overwhelmingly stick, while the General Plan encourages a carrot approach,” the appeal says.
A PCMR blog says the changes are part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Lift Upgrade, a $320 million investment in projects at 14 resorts. The end result will be 12 new high-speed chairlifts, a new high-speed gondola and eight new fixed-grip chairlifts across the company, the blog says.
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